The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis

The Ladies Auxiliary

When free-spirited Batsheva moves into the close-knit Orthodox community of Memphis, Tennessee, the already precarious relationship between the Ladies Auxiliary and their teenage daughters is shaken to the core. In this extraordinary novel, Tova Mirvis takes us into the fascinating and insular world of the Memphis Orthodox Jews, one ripe with tradition and contradiction. Warm and wise, enchanting and funny, The Ladies Auxiliary brilliantly illumi...

Details The Ladies Auxiliary

TitleThe Ladies Auxiliary
Release DateSep 5th, 2000
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreFiction, Literature, Jewish, Book Club, Contemporary

Reviews The Ladies Auxiliary

  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    This is a very Jewish story..... ......about a traditional Orthodox Jewish Community in Memphis, Tennessee. The families considered their city as the Jerusalem of the south. They felt that they were “part of a chain of the Jewish Memphians that would extend into the future forever, as long and as far away as God in heaven.” When that didn’t happen, it was the last thing their community expected. Author, Tova Mirvis, was an Orthodox Jew at ...
  • Violet wells
    The way things are going in the world it’s becoming easy to grow less and less enamoured by groups who identify themselves too belligerently with race, nationality or religion. At the heart of all such postures can often be detected an elitism, an attempt to aggrandize one’s own cult by belittling outsiders. As such the tightly knit community is a fascinating conundrum. On the one hand it’s often in these groups of people that cultural trad...
  • Jana
    The Ladies Auxiliary is essentially the Jewish version of Relief Society, complete with all the gossip, the cleaning fetishes and the casseroles. It's at once hilarious and heartbreaking. Narrated (brilliantly) in the first person PLURAL, it underscores the insider/outsider mentality. The main character is an artist from New York who moves into an Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis. It echoes in many ways my experience moving to Utah, this arti...
  • Carie
    I really enjoyed this book. About a convert to Orthodox Judaism who moves with her daughter to a small Orthodox community in Memphis after her husband dies. She tries to fit in.As an LDS reader, I found it fascinating. Lots of interesting questions: How often are we like the Mrs. Levys in this novel? Are we so stuck in our customs that we forget about our religion? How can we raise our children when the world lives so differently than we do?
  • Vanessa
    This novel is set in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee. The story begins when a single mother moves into the neighborhood in hopes of starting a new life after the passing of her husband. She is a convert to Judaism, but as a fellow Orthodox Jew, she is confident that she will be welcomed to the community. Things begin to unravel from there.This book is written in first person plural voice, which is unusual, but you get used t...
  • Kristine
    I read this book my friend Brandy recommended back in Iowa. I think it speaks much more to those who belong to a small, tight-knit religious community: like the Jews in the book or (like me and my friends) the LDS community. I think I learned a lot from the book -- it really makes you think about what true worship is and the meaning behind all out traditions and rituals. It makes you think about how we treat one another and how silly we are when ...
  • Marsha
    I loved this book! I would have given it 5 stars, but some of the writing was just a little awkward. The ladies, members of a tight-knit orthodox Jewish community in Memphis, were so much fun to get to know. I am a Mormon and grew up in a community where there were not many other Mormons, but now live in a majority Mormon community. I could relate to these Auxiliary ladies who have strong religious traditions and feelings, and who want to pass th...
  • Kelly
    I had a hard time getting into this book and never really did. The Ladies Auxiliary were just a bunch of gossiping busybodies. They drove me crazy with how judgmental they were. There group reminded me of an LDS ward were everyone knows your business. I did like how it raised the question of do we practice our religious beliefs out of tradition or because we truly want to draw closer to God.I wish I could be at book club to discuss the book with ...
  • Ann
    I loved this book. I think it was because I could relate to so much of the story. Small communities are like that, hiding problems and protecting the status quo at all cost. What I love best about Oakland is that we celebrate diversity and seem to thrive on uncovering dirt to discuss.And I loved the references to Jewish tradition. Although I was raised in a Reform congregation, my grandparents were very much a part of that Orthodoxy. And we all s...
  • DeB MaRtEnS
    The Ladies Auxiliary is, the on the surface, a story of an Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee. A newcomer, Batsheva, moves into the neighbourhood and she unintentionally causes the traditional group of women to question her actions, faith and purpose against their rigid rule bound society. Chaos and transformation ensues, none of which is easy on anyone. This is a deeply felt, thoughtful and universal story about the expectations of ...
  • Adrianne
    This book left me thinking. Am I open to change? Am I open, welcoming, and friendly to someone who thinks differently than I do? Do I see the beam in my own eye (see Matthew 7:3)? How do I worship? Do I just go through the motions? Or do I connect with God? How can I be the mother my children need? How can I love them not matter what they choose even when it might break my heart?Now six and a half years later (3/2017), I would change that last se...
  • Michelle
    Mirvis definitely made me feel the conflict: the white lies and gossiping, the appearance that most people didn't seem to be in the religion out of true conviction, the judging, etc. were too much at the start. What really got to me was the way I related to the backstabbing and scapegoating that can occur in a community that's supposed to be close because of their love for God. I've been in the same position as Batsheva and it's very painful. I f...
  • Jeanette
    As much I enjoyed the personalities of this easy read, it also made me sad. Incredibly sad within a heavy view of nostalgia and yearning for the "we are all quite the same in perception" of my immigrant and 1st generation neighborhood of my childhood. The support and the conflicts, both, were considerable- but never reflected the types of dissociation, nor abandonment of individuals, nor violence so common in the same city today. All the identica...
  • Mary
    I would've given this book a four... I really enjoyed it all the way through until the end, which just left everything unresolved and hanging! :( If only the end had had more closure! But, I guess that makes it more like real life. I'm just not a real life kinda girl when it comes to my fiction, I like endings that resolve the issues that are going on. Small town, Memphis, with a close knit Orthodox Jewish community where everybody knows everyone...
  • Tina
    Meh, I’m calling this one done at 150 pages. I cannot engage with this book no matter how hard I try. There are only 270 pages on my ebook and I just don’t see it getting better for me at this point because I’m bored with it. Life is too short when my bookcase is overflowing with books.
  • Tamara Springer
    The writing in this book is exquisite. Really enjoyed learning more about Orthodox Judaism. The characters are well developed and the story itself is interesting. And I even got to hear the author speak a couple weeks ago. Looking forward to reading more of her books.
  • Debbie Rothstein
    I found this to be a very compelling narrative. I felt that both sides of the community were represented well and I liked the third person narration. Although I disagreed with the viewpoints of some of the characters I felt that, from my experience that their feelings were portrayed accurately. I also liked that the ending made you think about what happened to all of them and it wasn’t “happily ever after.”
  • Doris Jean
    I enjoyed this book, it was written well, it was easy to read, and the characters seemed very real and lived on in my memory after the book. The setting is the Memphis orthodox Jewish community, which is a real community and the characters are universal stereotypes of every community regardless of religion. ( I think I read that the maternal grandmother of Elvis Presley was a member here.)There are many references to practices and concepts of Jud...
  • Kristin
    This was the pick for September for my church book club. It sounded interesting and I was excited to read it. This book is an enigma to me in many ways. Just when I think I have formed an opinion about opinion changes.When I first started this book I had a really hard time getting into it. There are about 20 main characters and none of them are the narrator exactly. The story is told in first-person plural which took a bit to get i...
  • Sue
    This is an intellectual story and not chick-lit so I really liked the themes and thought-provoking messages. It was told from the POV of the collective, a plural "we", so that the idea of the newcomer coming to town and not being part of the community was always at the forefront of the reader's mind. It was an interesting way to write the novel and made it seem as though all the women felt the same way about everything, but really underneath, the...
  • Shauna
    This was such a good book. Even though this deals wiht a Jewish community. It really can apply to any community that is not very tolerant of others. I am Morman, but did not grow up in a Morman household. Living in Utah is not very easy for those who are not of the Morman faith. I did not find my faith until college, so like Batsheva, I chose this and was not raised with this. There were many characters in this book who remind me of the people I ...
  • Chrisitna
    So far I am enjoying this book. It could easily be translated into Mormon culture. A good example of how xenophobia causes disunity and conflict in a tight knit communities. Finished: WOW! What a powerful book. Essential reading for women in the LDS culture. Touches on the theme of examining our own lives instead of examining/criticizing the lives of other. Also about how we treat people who don't fit into the mold we have created for the typical...
  • Robyn
    I so wanted to like this book more than I did. I was expecting light-hearted sisterhood stuff, but, instead, I got so upset every time I sat down to read it. It made me so mad and even furious at times! A great example of religion taken to the realm of zealot and the ugly nature of women involved in everyone elses business but their own. A good lesson in beam and mote ideology. This isn't just a Jewish problem tho, I see it in my own religion. Es...
  • Patty
    This book surprised me how it sucked me in. The characters were so complex and well-developed. I especially liked how the author dealt with prejudices within a close-knit religious community. She treats the topic with sensitivity, but a certain amount of irony and sarcasm. Reading this book helped me take a look at my own hypocrisies and prejudices, especially those that masquerade as religion. Mirvis really brings home the idea that being religi...
  • Suanne Laqueur
    The narrative is third-person plural: "Little changed in this city where we have always lived..." So you are hearing the story through the community viewpoint, which accentuates the insularity of the Jews in Memphis. At first I thought it a strange point of view and then I was hooked because it made me feel part of the story, part of that "we."Beautiful story, beautiful characters... I really have no words to describe how much I loved this book.
  • Allysen
    It was a fascinating read. I love how it was a world I have never been in before and probably won't ever be in, but it hit so close to home. Its hard to fit in and find a place in a close knit community, especially one thats so old and hard fast in their traditions. Even though I'm not jewish I could still relate to the feelings in this book. It is well written and worth the read.
  • Sarah
    This book is an excellent book club book, especially among a religious crowd. It makes one ponder what is tradition vs. based on gospel principles. It makes you squirm in your seat as you identify yourself in one of the less desirable characters. It gives you hope as you see change can happen for everyone. I read it in a book club years ago...perhaps it's time to suggest it again.
  • Danielle
    While reading a fun story about a close-knit community of women, I learned something about Orthodox Judaism. Neat.
  • Sloane
    Incredibly well developed characters about whom I thought and with whom I missed spending time long after I had finished the book.
  • Angela
    (This is a response to someone else's review)Interesting that you narrowed in on all the rigidity the author portrayed. To me, that was the main difference between the 'communal we' and Batsheva. It *was* religious rigidity to them. One of my favorite quotes from Batsheva is near the beginning when Tziporah sees her at the Mikvah and gently chastises her for using it since she was not supposed to be. Batsheva replied, "doing it only because it's ...